We are inexpressibly saddened to share the news that Bob Frascino, M.D. ("Dr. Bob") -- one of our most beloved experts, and an irrepressibly sunny and witty voice of reason in our "Ask the Experts" Forums -- died unexpectedly this past Saturday, Sept. 17.
The outpouring of emotion on our remembrance page, as well as the many who have commented on Facebook and via Twitter, are a testament to the extraordinary impact Dr. Bob had, and continues to have, on countless lives across the world:
- "You spread a lot of joy in this world, and also you touched so many people and allayed their deepest anxieties ... including mine. Your legacy lives on through all lives that you touch." -- E. Scott (Washington, D.C.)
- "I owe all my strength to Dr. Bob. He gave me hope when I had none. Thank you Dr. Bob, in your honour I will fight on and we must now push even more for a cure." -- Mr. J (Johannesburg, South Africa)
- "I am deeply saddened by this loss. Dr. Bob has been an inspiration and an icon to me ever since I started visiting this website. He will be greatly missed." -- OJ (Osaka, Japan)
- "We shall not see the likes of him again: irrepressible, uplifting, wise and humane Dr Bob. Truly a sad day. Thanks for all your support and for giving so much of yourself to others. Sleep soft Dr. Bob wherever you may be." -- Jubin (London, United Kingdom)
- "He was an inspiration to me when I found out I was positive, and as the year went by, I kept returning to his posts, to his answers, because he would make me feel that, despite the doubts, the dangers, the unknown, life is worth living and there will always be someone to turn to." -- Din (Mexico City)
- "I cannot stop crying. Dr. Bob was my superhero. A hug to all his relatives." -- Sérgio (Rio, Brazil)
- "He was among the very few who cheered me up with his wit and sense of humor while providing exceptionally valuable guidance in hard times of initiating the treatment and during the complications of it. The importance of staying positive while being positive. My heart goes out to his family and friends. He will be remembered." -- Alex (Moscow, Russia)
- "To those who say 'The internet has destroyed our social fabric,' I beg to differ. ... Dr. Bob is a star that has gone supernova. If I close my eyes and listen quietly, I can hear his laughter; his piano; his advice and his honesty -- now, I will hear it in the cosmos." -- Michael (Ottawa, Canada)
If your life was touched by Dr. Bob, please consider adding your own comment to our remembrance page.
ON THE PERSONAL SIDE
This Positive Life: James Nicacio
When James Nicacio was diagnosed with HIV in 2001, he was deep into his addiction to crystal meth. "At that time, I just decided that if I have HIV and I'm going to die, I might as well just keep partying," he remembers. In this interview, part of our new HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Latinos, James recounts his journey from drug abuse and denial to full acceptance of his HIV status -- and full support from his loved ones.
This interview is also available in Spanish.
Sarah Sacco: Balancing Meds With Motherhood's Demands
As a new mom, Sarah Sacco knows firsthand just how difficult it can be to stick to an HIV treatment regimen while trying to care for a baby. "Whether it was the constant wakefulness of early infancy, cutting teeth, or more recently potty training and being sick, as a mom, I often find myself struggling to face mornings! I find that I am most likely to forget my meds when I am running late and particularly if I don't sit down to eat."
Mark S. King: Facebook Put My Life Together Again
"When I finally put a stop to my exhausting existence of lies and fakery that accompanied my drug addiction, I knew that in order to live a life of integrity I would need to be the same Mark for every person in my life," blogger Mark S. King recalls. "Then I joined Facebook, which allowed me to invite all of these segments into one pool of friendship."
Word on the Street: Latinos' Experiences With Disclosure
It's been said that the intense focus on privacy in many Latino communities creates a "veil of secrecy" around HIV, making it profoundly difficult for many individuals to be open about their status. Here, Latinos living with HIV/AIDS -- from all walks of life -- share their experiences telling others they're HIV positive, sometimes with unexpected results.
This slideshow is also available in Spanish.
HIV TREATMENT & HEALTH ISSUES
Starting HIV Medications: Preparing For a Lifesaving Challenge
Starting HIV treatment is a lifesaving decision, but it's also a huge commitment. David Fawcett, Ph.D., L.C.S.W., shares six of the most important factors to keep in mind as you prepare to take HIV meds for the first time.
On TheBodyPRO.com: HIV Gene Therapy Approach Still Looks Sexy, but Leaves More Questions Than Answers
Researchers have just released new study findings on a form of gene therapy that attempts to rewire an HIV-positive person's CD4 cells so they no longer have a working CCR5 receptor, which is the primary way HIV attaches to the cells. The results are encouraging, but we're still very far from calling this approach a "functional cure."
On TheBodyPRO.com: Ibalizumab Study Casts a Ray of Hope for HIV-Positive People With Extensive Drug Resistance
Though still relatively early in its development, ibalizumab is a potential oasis in the desert for HIV treatment-experienced HIVers. New study results give us reason to hope that the oasis is more than just a mirage, but obstacles to the drug's development remain -- including the fact that it must be injected, albeit no more than once a week.
On TheBodyPRO.com: ICAAC HIV Poster Roundup -- Clinically Relevant Findings
Here's a quick sampling of some of the more noteworthy HIV-related posters presented at a major research conference earlier this week. Topics covered include a surprisingly high frequency of people quitting Atripla due to side effects; the decline of multidrug resistance; unexpected findings tying hospitalization risk to HIV med dose frequency; and a whole mess of antiretroviral-switch studies.
More Headlines on HIV Treatment and Health Issues:
I Recently Became HIV+ -- and My HIV- Boyfriend's Coming to Town
(A recent post from the "Gay Men" board)
"I recently was infected which means that my viral load is astronomically high. In between being infected and being diagnosed I fell for a HIV- guy and he is coming to town this weekend. I am not feeling very sexual at all, but are there safer ways that I can still show him that I am still tremendously sexually attracted to him? My fear is that I will get too into my thoughts and not be as adventurous as I know that we both enjoy."
Click here to join this discussion, or to start your own!
To do this, you'll need to register with TheBody.com's bulletin boards if you're a new user. Registration is quick and anonymous (all you need is an email address) -- click here to get started!
NEWS & VIEWS
Dázon Dixon Diallo: Women, Progress, and the Road Ahead
In this video from AIDS.gov, Dázon Dixon Diallo talks about how she started SisterLove, a 22-year-old reproductive justice organization for women that focuses on HIV/AIDS. She also gives her insights about the plight of women and HIV -- particularly in relation to women of color -- in the U.S. and around the world.
Tony Kushner Reflects on Angels in America, 20 Years Later
Twenty years ago, Angels in America, the landmark play about being gay and living with HIV/AIDS in the pre-antiretroviral era, took the stage in San Francisco. The play's writer and director Tony Kushner recently sat down with NPR's Neal Conan to talk about the play's cultural significance then and now.
Rapper Comes Under Fire for His Comments about the Down Low
American rapper and actor Game claims that he "don't have a problem with gay people," just the ones in the closet, or "on the down low." Last week, during an interview with VladTV, the Compton-born rapper disappointed many in the HIV/AIDS community when he expressed his concern about closeted gays spreading HIV to unsuspecting women.
Gamers Solve Old HIV Problem With New Video Game Approach
Who says video games can't better the world? It took just three weeks for online gamers to solve a problem that had been puzzling HIV researchers for more than a decade: how to figure out the structure of a protein belonging to a close relative of HIV that causes AIDS in monkeys.
More News & Views Headlines:
"Attic Clouds Performance," 1973
Visit the September 2011 Visual AIDS Web Gallery to view our latest collection of art by HIV-positive artists! This month's gallery, entitled "Making Do," is curated by David Getsy.
HIV/STD TRANSMISSION & EDUCATION
I'll Take the Paradigm Shift. Can You Supersize It Please?
In this passionate blog entry, Ed Perlmutter lays out several brief examples of why he feels routine, opt-out HIV testing must be made law in his home state of Massachusetts. "The overwhelming majority of clinicians assume that they ... know who their patients are and what they should or should not want regarding their own health care," he writes.
HIV Among Transgender People
The transgender community in the U.S. is among the groups at highest risk for HIV infection. Unfortunately, because of lack of data, it's unknown just how many transgender Americans are actually HIV positive. In this article, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discuss the small amount of existing data, as well as HIV prevention and treatment challenges that transgender Americans face.
More HIV/STD Transmission & Education Headlines: